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Azazel Jacobs’s French Exit is the Closing Night of the 58th New York Film Festival

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Photo by Tobias Datum. Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

Film at Lincoln Center has announced Azazel Jacobs’s French Exit as Closing Night of the 58th New York Film Festival, making its World Premiere.

In the film, Michelle Pfeiffer is entirely bewitching as Frances Price, an imperious, widowed New York socialite whose once-extreme wealth has dwindled down to a nub. Facing insolvency, she makes the decision to escape the city by cruise ship and relocate to her friend’s empty Paris apartment with her dyspeptic son, Malcolm (Lucas Hedges), and their mercurial cat, Small Frank (voiced by Tracy Letts). There, Frances and Malcolm reckon with their pasts and plan for an impossible future, all while their social circle expands in unexpected and increasingly absurdist ways. This adaptation of the best-selling novel by Patrick deWitt is a rare American film of genuine eccentricity, elegantly directed by Azazel Jacobs (The Lovers), and featuring a brilliant performance of stylish severity by Pfeiffer, whose every intonation is a wonder to behold. A Sony Pictures Classics release.

“We’ve been watching New York filmmaker Azazel Jacobs for more than a decade, since his film Momma’s Man screened in our New Directors/New Films festival in 2008,” said New York Film Festival Director Eugene Hernandez.Now, we’re honored that he’ll make his NYFF debut with Closing Night selection French Exit, a tour-de-force collaboration with Michelle Pfeiffer that we can’t wait to share with audiences in NYC and beyond.”

“Jacobs is one of the most distinctive voices in American cinema, and it’s a thrill to see him working with new registers and tones in his most ambitious film yet,” said Dennis Lim, New York Film Festival Director of Programming. “It’s rare to encounter a film so wholly surprising. Moment to moment, French Exit is a destabilizing delight, as strange and dark as it is playful, thanks in no small part to Michelle Pfeiffer’s career-best performance.”

“NYFF is the film festival I grew up attending,” said Jacobs. “I remember seeing Night On Earth for the first time, and waiting afterwards to hand Jim Jarmusch a fan letter. I remember that same year seeing Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho and having my aim to become a filmmaker only more solidified.  I’m grateful to the NYFF for allowing French Exit to premiere in the city I was raised in, and love, and to all who are undoubtedly working tirelessly to make this event happen.”

The NYFF Main Slate selection committee, chaired by Dennis Lim, also includes Eugene Hernandez, Florence Almozini, K. Austin Collins, and Rachel Rosen.

Since 1963, the New York Film Festival has been a centerpiece of New York’s arts scene: an annual bellwether of the state of cinema that has shaped film culture in the city and beyond. Festival organizers will keep this tradition alive while adapting as necessary to the current health crisis. The safety of audiences and staff is the first priority. The 58th edition of NYFF will focus on outdoor and virtual screenings, as directed by state and health officials.

Presented by Film at Lincoln Center, the New York Film Festival highlights the best in world cinema. The festival continues a long-standing tradition of introducing audiences to bold and remarkable works from celebrated filmmakers as well as fresh new talent. Information about press and industry accreditation and ticket on-sale dates for the 58th New York Film Festival will follow. Support of the New York Film Festival benefits Film at Lincoln Center in its nonprofit mission to support the art and craft of cinema.

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